06 February 2011

Longing For The Good Pool

As I've been ranting and raving about recent swim workouts recently, I was thinking back to some of the better swims I've had over the past year.  I love open water swims with my triathlon club and once in a while get in a good pool workout at the local gym.  But last summer there were two great mornings that I recall fondly.

I was in Indianapolis last summer for work - just a few days, but enough to have to work training into the schedule.  Yep, the few days during the week was just enough for the old type-A / OCD to kick in and I began to worry about getting in my workouts.  The timing was pretty crappy, as I recall.  It was in early June, and I had two races coming up that month.  I can run almost anywhere, but where the heck was I going to get in a swim workout?  I went to Google Maps to locate my hotel, and saw that across the street was the NCAA Collegiate Athletic offices (cool), the NCAA Hall of Champions (still cool) and the National Institute for Fitness and Sport.  I didn't really know what the NIFS was, but it had to do with fitness and sport so I was thinking that this was getting cooler by the minute. Anyway, as I mapped what looked to be a good running route through the Indiana University campus, I stumbled across my savior for the upcoming week:

The IU Natatorium at IUPUI

Okay, the cool factor just went up a notch.  Time to pack the swimming gear.

I checked their hours for lap swimming, and the first morning I was in Indy, I walked the 10 minutes from my hotel to the pool.  Paid for a day pass, and headed to the lockers.  Interestingly, the locker rooms that were open to the public were fairly spartan - they reminded me of my high school swimming locker room.  I had to assume that the locker rooms for the IU team were a bit nicer! Anyway, not to worry I thought.  I'm here for the pool.  I hurriedly changed and got out to the deck.

I wasn't disappointed.

Oh, the joys of a long-course (50 meter) competition pool.   Deep all the way across (9-10 feet) and 8 lanes wide.  Waves were non-existant.  And while there were a fair number of people there, there was never more than 2 people a lane, and in a long-course pool you were never held up.



Cool water temps (they advertise that water being maintained at 72F at the time, but it felt cooler) meant you never felt overheated like I do at my local gym.  On top of that, they had an instructional pool (25 yards) in another area, and a full diving well with boards and platform tower. 




Man, this was great!

In the pool they have a wall covered with the names of all the swimmers who have set records in that pool: 101 American records and 15 World Records.  Walking back out side in the main hallway are photos of all the greats - too many to list, but needless to say I was a little late for work that morning (and the next!)

I write this having just come back from my local gym / pool.  Battling for lane space and grumbling about it to myself all morning.

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